Want to Be A Model? Here’s Your Starting Guide
Fascinated by the models walking in Milan, Paris or New York Fashion Week? Has anyone ever told you that you could be an amazing model? Do you find your face appropriate to be on the billboards and fashion magazines? If you are nodding your head in an affirmation, then this guide has been created for you. Modeling appears easy and fun, on the outside but like any endeavor worth having it takes discipline and knowledge. This can be dauntingn when you don’t know where to start your journey. Scroll below to find out a hand full of helpful steps that for all the aspiring models.
1. Know your market & style
Your city may determine your
level of working experience.
International model scout and agent Vanessa Helmer defines "the market" as a geographical location. While New York is one, Tokyo is another, while Milan or Paris are their own respective markets. Each market has different requirements and different standards for models. Knowing your market is an effective way to start your career.
There are a few different styles of modeling. It’s divided into several sub-categories, having different targeted audience. So, the first step is to select the most suitable market for yourself to be successful in the field. The main modeling markets include plus-size, catwalk, commercial, lingerie/swimsuit, print, editorial and the list goes on.
Catwalk modeling typically has requirements that include you needing to be at least 5’8”. Secondly, we all know that models walking on the ramp are just skin and bones with a few curves. Don’t think you can fit in this category due to your love for food? Go for Plus-size modeling then! It usually requires the same height as the catwalk models, but the size is an exception. Most of the plus-size models must flaunt dresses over size 10. On the other hand, commercial models can be a bit shorter than 5’8”, and their body type can be diverse. While, lingerie models, also known as glamour models, usually have an hour-glass body, large chest with small waist.
2. Have a Comp Card
Comp cards (also called composite card, z card, zed card or sed card) is a marketing tool for actors and especially models. They serve as the latest and best of a model's portfolio and are used as a business card. Having a comp card helps sell models to potential employers. The card should include your contact info, full name, height, appropriate measurements and dress size. Information on a comp card may vary depending on your region, type of modeling, or agency requirements.
When we hire models I typically look for comp cards and with relevant information on it. It’s very important to keep your card up to date, meaning if you’ve changed sizes, changed your hair, or gotten new tattoos the card should reflect this with images, and copy info. Comp cards help in more ways than one. I recently had a casting where we didn’t hire the one of the model’s whose comp card we walked away with. That card stayed on my desk for a year, I hired her for an 5 hour photoshoot just two days ago. I got 40 models information the day of the casting. I remember none of them but her, because she had an awesome comp card. The question then becomes… “How do I make a comp card?” My answer….Don’t! Why would you, when we will do it for you! Learn more here.
3. Create a portfolio
A model’s portfolio is exactly what a photographer’s is, a collection of their best work. It should consist of 10-15 images of your best work, ensuring the looks are different from shot to shot. It is the first thing that will be viewed by brands, casting directors and designers prior to hiring you. Moreover, don’t lose hope if your portfolio doesn’t contain enough accomplishments because it’s just the beginning. Your work will get there, but having one is better than not having one.
As a photographer looking to hire a model. I'm already impressed with the rare one who has a printed portfolio. It's an easy way to set yourself apart from the chaff in the room. I'm looking for the first image to knock my socks off. There are a lot of different types of modeling out there, and a lot of pretty girls who claim to be models that aren't cut out for it. Ensure you have images that show your range of skills, I love working with models who can emote. Who can give me sassy, pouty, cute, and confident all in sequence. Having images that show you've done fashion, editorial, catalog, print, and beauty show that you're experienced in front of the camera and have no problem slaying a shoot.
Once you have managed to gather a collection of dope images, the next step is to compile them in the portfolio. This can be as simple as compiling the digital images into a PDF, then keeping it accessible on your phone. Want to be super impressive. Print your work in 8 x 10 files a buy a plastic portfolio to carry with you. Seriously worth it at $6 at Walmart.. Keep your comp cards inside it as well and you'll be a hit at your next casting.
4. Network… Meet people!
Networking is good. It’s what people are all about these days. How many time did you check social media today? Too many to count, right? If you’re just starting out as a model joining modeling Facebook groups, social media, and creating accounts with sites like Model Mayhem or Meetup can help you meet people who are looking to help. Create a mutually beneficial relationship with other models, photographers, and makeup artists who are just starting out tool. They need to do the same thing you do…build a portfolio. Help yourself, by helping others, and make new and awesome friends while doing so. Just be sure to be safe.
5. Get Real... Get Evaluated!
Lets be 100% real here. When I first started photography friends, family and Facebook all said "Wow you're so great at this!" But honestly I sucked. If I wanted to be seriously paid I needed serious criticism. Paying a model coach, agent or scout can help you polish your model swag. A few choice ideas are listed here.
Finally, you have reached to the point where you are all set to approach an agency with your attractive portfolio, your badass comp cards, you have some experience. But the concern is, how to choose a suitable agency? The answer...research!
Firstly, check out the different modeling agencies locally. The cream of the crop usually rises to the top on the inter webs. Look at their talent, the quality of their images, the models that are represented on their page and use your best judgement if you want what they are offering. You've been to a few photoshoots and asked the models there if their agency has helped them, and how. Read about their hiring process, working requirements and other important information. Agency policies differ based on region so you may find this info already mentioned on their website; some may ask you to email the details, while others may require an online form submission and picture uploading. Moreover, many agencies prefer open-casting call, in which the candidate needs to go to their office along with the portfolio for hiring. Casting call is certainly a great opportunity for aspiring models because your personality, body language, communication skills and overall look can help you a lot in the process! I've done work with T London Modeling Agency and 9Nine Modeling and they are both a great place to start with resources that will help aspiring models.
6. Be patient and determined
Finding an agency might be a long process for you. Honestly you should take your time and do your research. Don’t be discouraged! Instead, start looking for small opportunities in the mean time for the sake of gaining exposure and experience. Depending on where you live Kansas, Alaska, Iowa you may have to consider relocating to chase your dreams. If your city isn't a large hub like Los Angeles, New York, Houston or Atlanta you may find yourself fighting an uphill battle. Your level of commitment will be tested if you plan to make modeling a career, but if you ask anyone who has ever achieved anything worth a damn they won't say it was easy.
When I asked my mentor... How do I answer the question "What do I want to do for the rest of my life?" his wisdom surprised me. He said "If you love what you do, you would do it for free. What do you love doing?" Besides drinking beer, jet skiing, and snorkeling I couldn't come up with a descent answer, until photography. Once I made the decision to be a pro photog I dived in with both feet. I consumed all the knowledge I could get about the subject, read books, studied camera manuals, paid photographers to learn from them and countless other things to improve myself. I wanted to be a professional photographer just as much as I wanted to breath. Today I am the person I dreamed of being those years ago.
My question to you is.... Who are you now? What do you love doing now? Would you do it for free (until you get too damn good of course). Are you willing to pay the price of success? If modeling is your answer then....
Get started today, and let the world know that you can be the top model soon. Are you ready to explore the world of modeling?